My friend John recently sent me an email asking me about the correlation between God and the weather. Regardless of whether you are Christian or not, most people are quick to give God credit when it comes to control of the weather. The tougher question is does He control it in any strategic way or is it something He puts on “auto-pilot?”
The answer to this question is clear in the Old Testament by looking at God’s interaction with the nation of Israel. He directly states that He will give them good weather when they obey Him and bad weather when they don’t. Consider the following passages:
“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.” Leviticus 26:3-5
“So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you todayâ€”to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soulâ€” then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.” Deuteronomy 11:13-15
“Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the LORDâ€™s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the LORD is giving you.” Deuteronomy 11:16-17
“The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.” Deuteronomy 28:12-13
So clearly we can see that in the old covenant with Israel God directly and strategically controlled the weather. But now that we live under a new covenant of grace in Jesus Christ, what is God doing with the weather now?
The only reference we have in the New Testament that would give us an indication (that I’m aware of) is a passage from Matthew chapter five. Verses 43-45 say:
“You have heard that it was said, â€˜Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.â€™ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
What’s intriguing about this passage is that is also quotes back to the old covenant in Leviticus 19:18. It’s almost as if Matthew knows that this is a significant example of the old covenant being changed.
In a bizarre instruction to love the people we’d be least likely to love, Matthew also tells us that now God spreads the weather out equally to all people. It may not sound like a bad deal to us today but imagine if you were a Jew at the time and you were hearing this news. You just lost control of the weather. You couldn’t earn good weather ever again. That sounds about as unfair as God expecting me to love people that I tend to naturally want to hate. Welcome to the world of grace.